Charities say use their expertise to improve work programme's ‘poor performance'

  • A report claims that ‘poor performance' of the government's work programme reveals a need to work more closely with charities.

    A report by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations has found that the contractors of the work programme "are failing to help people furthest from the labour market to find work," reports Inside Housing.

    Stepping Stones, the Role of the Voluntary Sector in Future Welfare to Work Schemes, says that the work programme has "failed to help many service users with multiple or complex needs" and that the "expertise of voluntary organisations has been underutilised". Teamwork Concept

    The report highlights DWP statistics revealing that just 6.3% of prison leavers have found work through the work programme, and just 11% of those on incapacity benefit were successful. Only 2.3% of Employment Support Allowance (ESA) claimants expected to be fit for work by the DWP have found work after 12 months on the programme.

    Karl Wilding, director of public policy at NCVO, said: "The recommendations set out by this report seek to address the failings of the work programme and the lack of input sought by the government from specialist charity and voluntary organisations. Frontline charities are in an excellent position to help people furthest away from the job market to gain skills, experience and confidence to help them towards and into employment. The government can benefit from taking their expertise into account at the earliest stages. In the future, we would like to see voluntary organisations involved in the design process from the very beginning, to prevent the waste and inefficiencies that have blighted the work programme so far."

    A spokesperson for the DWP said: "The work programme has transformed how long-term unemployed people are helped into work. Charities and voluntary sector organisations play a vital part in its success by using their expert knowledge to tailor services for some of the very hardest to help people. The work programme is helping more people than any previous employment programme and we have already helped 300,000 people to find lasting work, which has contributed to the largest fall in long-term unemployment for 16 years."

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